It is no secret that Raptors-fever has hit Canada hard over the last month or so. Fans, players and whole cities across the country have gone into overdrive to prepare for a potential historic Raptor’s win in the NBA Finals this week. However, there is nobody more focused on the win than this parents-to-be, since the "Kawhi Leonard" baby name is likely to rise in popularity if Raptors manage to take home the championship.
The Toronto team will be looking to take home a win in Game 6 against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, after narrowly losing out in Game 5 by just one point. A Raptors win would take the overall score to 4-2 and make basketball history as Raptors would become the first non-US team to ever win an NBA Final.
It is not unusual for musicians, sportsmen and other popular culture influences to provide inspiration to parents when naming a child. But spikes in popularity of names, particularly basketball player’s names, have become increasingly noteworthy in recent years.
In 2018, the popularity of the name ‘Giannis’ increased in the US by an astounding 135% and is up to a whopping 662% from 2016. This spike is surely thanks to NBA star and Milwaukee Bucks forward, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was en route to his first all-star appearance in 2016.
In a similar fashion, fans are expecting that the name ‘Kawhi’, inspired by Raptor’s Kawhi Leonard, will blow up in 2019/2020. The #2 player is a firm fan-favourite in Canada for his phenomenal basketball skills and just for being an all-round ‘fun guy.’
One baby in Cambridge has already been confirmed to have taken on the famous Kawhi name, and basketball fans on Twitter are pretty confident that he won't be the last.
Popular 2020 Ontario baby name: Kawhi— Torben Rolfsen (@Torben Rolfsen) 1558763300.0
Prediction: The name #Kawhi (kah-WHY) will jump in the most popular baby name rankings lists ... in Canada and else… https://t.co/oPBr1OoXHN— Brian Christopher (@Brian Christopher) 1559155365.0
I have a feeling there will be a bump in “Kawhi” as a baby name in and around the GTA— Jay Indawala 🌺 (@Jay Indawala 🌺) 1558841638.0
Also, @StatCan_eng, I'ma need some numbers in say... nine months on the number of Canadian babies born with the nam… https://t.co/jpVu6SeGhg— Casey E. Palmer (@Casey E. Palmer) 1558840999.0
Many new-parents and parents-to-be are also taking to Twitter and confirming that Kawhi is a strong contender for the name of their new child, with several fans even confirming that their baby will take the name Kawhi - boy or girl!
My mother has informed me if I have a baby I need to name it Kawhi— wayward (@wayward) 1559959730.0
I told my sis to name her new baby Kawhi 🤷🏽♀️— 北村 钦 🥰😘 (@北村 钦 🥰😘) 1558880670.0
@KateBeirness @MikeMartignago @Raptors I’m going to name my baby Kawhi.— Chris Conte (@Chris Conte) 1558923053.0
KAWHI is now at the top of our baby name list....boy or girl, doesn’t matter! #Raptors #NBAFinalsBound @Raptors— Ali☆ (@Ali☆) 1558840893.0
2019 Most Popular Baby Name for Boys in Canada: Kawhi. 2019 Most Popular Baby Name for Girls in Canada: Kawhi #rtz #wethenorth— forever2019 (@forever2019) 1558732518.0
A number of new parents also saw this excitement as the perfect opportunity to share some adorable photos of their new babies who, naturally, have also taken the popular Raptor's player's name.
Congrats @Raptors!! Congrats Kawhi Leonard, Raptors' MVP!! Super idol!! Because of how excellent, brilliant and hum… https://t.co/9O6kqRNUXo— Clixy Khonn (@Clixy Khonn) 1558864948.0
Go @Raptors .. Get the game 1 please!!! Cheering for you KAWHI, PASCAL, FRED, SERGE, DANNY, COACH NICK AND OTHER HE… https://t.co/jZmGQAviqe— Clixy Khonn (@Clixy Khonn) 1559273084.0
Hey @Raptors @Drake my baby boys name is Kawhi! we named him after Kawhi because he is our favourite NBA player eve… https://t.co/ebOWFILfPR— medusa (@medusa) 1559401360.0
That said, there are a number of parents waiting to see if the Raptors can actually take home the NBA Final championship first, before they officially commit to using Leonard's name for their newborn.
@VividSeats @superfan_nav @thealiyaproject is who I would take. Our baby is due any day now! we’ll name him Kawhi i… https://t.co/fcfDLTraNP— Mandippal (@Mandippal) 1560099992.0
Trying to convince my (future) wife to name our (future/hypothetical) baby boy Kawhi if the Raps win it all this year #WeTheNorth— miley (@miley) 1553920462.0
Whatever happens in the next two NBA Finals games, it is clear that Canadians are super-proud of the Raptors, and Kawhi in particular. That said, if the team were to take home a win on Thursday, we can be fairly certain we'll be coming across a lot more 'Kawhi's' in the future!